Binding Model: Flow NX2 CX
Binding Size: Large
Stance and Angles: Goofy, 21in wide, 21/+3
Board Used: K2 Overboard 165
Boot Used: DC Tucknee
Boot Size: 8
Rider Weight: 155lbs
Conditions: Solidly between mid winter and early spring. The snow gets softer during the middle of the day and firms up overnight. I got out early in the morning with the snow still fast and firm.
Binding Adjustability: There is a lot here and with Flow it is important to pay attention too. You have adjustments for the highback forward lean, the straps are on flip-cams, and you have two positions for the highback to mount to the frame with for a forward and back adjustment. Getting Flow bindings adjusted correctly is critical to good functionality, so I always suggest starting from the top and moving down. Loosen up the strap and using the dial on the highback lever get the highback to sit flush with your boot. Then, leaving the lower portion of the strap loose center and tighten the upper portion, then snug up the lower portion so no gaps are left. Remember that You will still likely need to make some adjustments as you start riding the bindings, but I have found that running through this process always gave me the best chance of a good adjustment from the start.
Straps: These straps are unique to Flow. The one piece strap was originally introduced before toe caps. Go ahead and strap your boot into your binding and run your toestrap straight over the top of your boot. The toe strap and ankle strap are right next to each other and with wider straps, they can nearly touch. The Flow strap was created to bridge that space creating a bigger strap to distribute pressure better. It works, and is also a tripping point for new Flow owners. Because it distributes pressure better you don’t really feel the strap on your boot, often leading new users to overtighten the strap making entry difficult. Run them snug, snug is tight. They are necessarily stiff and provide a very supportive and locked down feel.
Ratchets: The locking ratchets aren’t the smoothest releasing and can take some extra effort to pop loose. That said, they aren’t really supposed to be used all that much. While you certainly can use them as a mode of entry and exit, they are intended to be secondary to the reclining highback. With the locks, the more you use them, the more they are going to wear out. So if you use them a lot to get in and out, you’ll get less and less effectiveness out of the locks.
Highbacks: The CX has the new one piece carbon/nylon highback. Most of Flows highbacks don’t differ in feel too much as the cable running through the top of the highback lever means that the stiffness of the highback itself has less an effect on the toe to heel response compared to a traditional binding. What is impacted is the lateral flex and the carbon/nylon unibody highback used here is very stiff. It provides a lot of power and response laterally and very little to no give at the top over the clip.
Binding Flex: With the aluminium frame and carbon highback it is a stiff freeride style binding. Very responsive with the inherent efficiency of the cable running from highback to frame, they are stiff and supportive in every direction. Stiff straps, stiff frame, and stiff highback.
Ride: The two most impactful things about the ride feel are the full urethane under-base pad, and the cable. The whole frame is sitting on a urethane pad that has towers that extend up through the footbed in the toe and heel. They do a great job of minimizing chatter and the harsh ride that can often come with aluminum frames. The basic power concept of the cable in Flow bindings is to skip the effort of going through the heelcup. In a traditional binding you put effort into the top of the highback, it moves down into the heelcup, then down into the frame. With Flow, all that effort from the top of the highback goes directly into the cable and into the frame skipping the whole heelcup path. It makes for a very efficient mode of power transfer and makes properly set up Flows some of the most responsive bindings on the market. The fit and lack of any gaps in it is key to this though, gaps lose response.
Rider in Mind: High end freerider or all mountain rider looking for a lighter but ultra responsive and burly binding.
Personal Thoughts: I really like the new one piece highback in the Fuse series and have always enjoyed the ride feel of the NX2 frame. I think the unibody highback provides a more dialed fit and it’s lighter. For a powerful binding and responsive binding, this is a really hard option to ignore, and with a dialed in fit, this may just be the most responsive binding on the market.